Max’s Top Organic Picks For A Spin On The Traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner
Thanksgiving doesn’t mean taking a vacation from healthy eating. Families can take pride in cooking a great tasting traditional holiday meal that’s also made from the highest quality ingredients.
Max Goldberg runs an organic food blog called livingmaxwell.com. His blog focuses on his passion for organic food as a means to educate people about the organic experience and to inspire others to make positive lifestyle changes. Readers follow Max from his self-destructive and tumultuous journey to his emergence as a health and organic advocate.
Below are Max’s top picks for an organic Thanksgiving or Christmas meal this holiday season. He includes raw and vegan food options as well. His Thanksgiving posting can be found on his BLOG where other special Thanksgiving/Christmas recipe favorites of Max can be found.
– DINNER –
Certified Organic Turkey
The staple of traditional Thanksgiving dinners is turkey. Certified organic turkeys mean that:
Ω No antibiotics, chemicals or pesticides are used.
Ω All organic feed is used.
Ω They are pasture-raised, have had ample time to roam outdoors and are not confined to tight spaces.
There are many online vendors that sell certified organic turkeys, and local organic supermarkets have them as well. However, the following two farms offer something pretty unique.
** Guttenberg Farms in Wisconsin offers certified organic heritage turkeys. Heritage turkeys are the ancestors of the common broad-breasted white industrial breed of turkey that comprises 99.99% of the supermarket turkeys sold today. Heritage turkeys have a stronger flavor and darker color, dine on grass and insects, and require about 28 weeks to become full size. Because it takes so long to grow to market weight, the turkeys have time to develop a thin layer of fat which makes them “self basting.”
** Wise Organic Pastures offers both certified organic and kosher turkeys. Kosher turkeys are prepared in a special way to reduce bacteria and are overseen by a certified Rabbi. Furthermore, the slaughter process is as quick as possible in order to minimize pain to the animal.
Reserve early. They often sell out.
Grown Right Organic Cranberry Sauce
Finding organic cranberry sauce on the shelves is not always easy (Be wary of items that say “natural” as there are no real standards for “natural”). Grown Right is a top choice, and the company offers a jellied version and whole berry version.
Arrowhead Mills Organic Savory Herb Stuffing
Arrowhead Mills is one of the real mainstay brands in the organic world. This stuffing is quick and easy to prepare — approximately 20 minutes. And, the organic spices in the stuffing (sage, rosemary and thyme) will provide great taste for the organic turkey. It is available nationwide and can be ordered online HERE.
– DRINK –
R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Organic Apple Juice
This non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice is crisp but not overbearing; it is all juice with no sugar added and six ounces is equivalent to one serving of fruit. The product is sold nationwide.
Simply Organic Mulling Spice
This hot apple drink is easy and delicious. Take organic apple juice and mix it with this organic packet of cinnamon, allspice, orange peel, cloves and ginger. The preparation is very simple and only requires about 20 minutes to make. Another great option is to replace the apple juice with cranberry or grape juice. Simply Organic Mulling Spice is available at stores nationwide and online.
– DESSERT –
Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin Pie Mix
For those who don’t want to make this classic dessert from scratch, Farmer’s Market is the perfect start to the classic Thanksgiving pie dish. Each can will serve about 6-8 people and will take about an hour to prepare. It is sold nationwide and can be purchased online HERE.
Wholly Wholesome Organic Spelt Pie Shells
A great crust to go along with any mix is Wholly Wholesome, it’s a spelt crust (over the white or wheat crust). These pie crusts come frozen and are available nationwide. To find a location near you, click HERE.
Frontier Organic Cinnamon Stick and Powder
All cinnamon is not alike; known as “true cinnamon”, ceylon cinnamon has a more delicate and sweet flavor than the more common cassia cinnamon. Click HERE to find a store near you that carries this product.
Purely Elizabeth Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
If you have any guests who have gluten-free requirements, try Purely Elizabeth. It is fantastic. There are no refined sugars, and it is gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy free. (They use some of Max’s favorite ingredients, such as millet and chia seeds). To find a store near you that sells Purely Elizabeth, click HERE. It can also be purchased online.
– RAW/VEGAN –
Earth Cafe Dairy-Free Cheesecake
If you have guests who love dessert but are looking for a vegan option, then contact Earth Cafe in California. Their pumpkin cheesecake is stellar. Made with nuts and no dairy, it has the perfect combination of spices and is not too rich. All of their cheesecakes are raw, vegan, and wheat/gluten free. They are sold throughout much of the country, and nationwide shipping is available if you order directly from the company.
For people who don’t eat meat, dairy and cooked food, one option is to call your local raw food restaurant. Most raw food restaurants are very committed to organic eating and put together phenomenal meat-free Thanksgiving dinners for pick-up. Call well in advance because these meals take several days to prepare.
For example, Pure Food and Wine in New York City is offering marinated portabella and wild mushrooms, pecan and herb stuffing, cranberry sauce, mapled brussel sprouts, and celeriac mash. For dessert, you’ll get pumpkin pie, apple crisp, vanilla cream and vanilla ice cream.
In Boston, the Thanksgiving dinner at The Prana Cafe will consist of a butternut squash soup, marinated mushrooms, mashed turnips, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
Vegan Recipe: Slow-Roasted Stuffed Holiday Seitan
For a top vegan Thanksgiving, find a recipe from Cliff Preefer, the founder and chef of Sacred Chow (video review) right from Max’s blog post. Cliff put together a Thanksgiving special for readers of livingmaxwell, Slow-Roasted Stuffed Holiday Seitan.
Live Well and have a great Thanksgiving!
About livingmaxwell / Max Goldberg
Max Goldberg started livingmaxwell.com in 2009. His blog focuses on his passion for organic food as a means to educate people about its importance and to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle. Readers follow Max on his journey to eating organic after a long personal battle with high-stress, depression and self-destructive behavior, including his decision to quit Prozac, an antidepressant he had been taking for more than a decade.
Max’s organic food blog gives readers useful information about the best products, news, trends, and legislation, and provides interviews with the industry’s leading CEOs. Max is a former Wall Street investment banker whose goal is to inspire people to change their relationship with food.